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THE TREES

.

the trees have

become skeletons now,

.

this year’s flesh

stripped off by storms.

.

we are becoming the dead

And breathe

that spice perfume

Of cold and

mulch and sleep.

.

the wind lifts the skirts

of the morning.

.

we see nothing there

except clattering bones.

.

all our neat

and sensible power

evaporates.

.

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YIDAM YEW

As though through the bark
The tree remembers
every storm
Every wild sunset.
every dream of fleeting light captured, savoured.
Every rip tide and cloud race, every
Second’s shade and bright reveal.
A mad visionary truth,
The taste of an ultimate, near ultimate, real,
Stretching and scattering certainty of form and view.

At its heart is a red darkness,
a blue darkness,
a glow of orange sunrise and sunsets,
a weight of waiting
and a weight of watching.

It will see you looking at it
through your own eyes.
It will measure the coming and going of your breath,
and know that it is dreaming.

Those who name it,
do not know its name,
which began at the beginning of things
And will continue beyond their ending,
and then will not be completed, even then.

Though there is a snake hiss silence,
though the spine fills and hollows with dust,
though one moment shatters in black light,
though there is a taste of pollen and old books,
though there is a stutter thought,
though there is a window or a mirror.

A perfect dance of stillness,
a perfect song of silence,
a filled void that drowns and opens out.
A cease and a spinning.
Location lost.
A reorientation in a million shards of shadow shimmer.
Wordless is the wisdom of compassionate beasts.

Whetever form it takes,
it is light and time and endless mind
Stretched out in sunlight, flowing as wind and rain,
A map of constancy, road to all things.

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‘Yidam’ is the Tibetan word for ‘meditational deity’. It has energetic presence that encourages awakening and is dressed in a form and metaphor that excites attention. Like all deities/spirits/thought forms, it is paradoxically illusory and of an independant existence more real than the individual personality could ever be. ‘Wrathful’ deities have the appearance of dynamic, fear-provoking, fiery forms that destroy illusion and false concepts.

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ST. DAVID’S DAY

This storm is born
In the crowns of the big trees.
See them, down in the valley fold,
Sway and surge in sea-echoed ecstasy.
The roar of threaded airs
Woven and slung out,
Spat with hail and sudden squall.
Dark their limbs,
And dark the thick air.
But bright the song of the chaffinch.
Bright the morning
And the baby’s cries on the cliff.
The sun shall lift the hills
And praise will rise.
Tonight, the owl’s amen shall resound
As round and cold
As the clear moon.

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LLANHIFANGEL ABERGWESYN

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Heather, royally purple, clothing the hillsides above.
Around the circles of Llanhifangel Abergwesyn,
The silver, sanding shores of Irfon, curved and rippled.

Sheltered from sheep, this round silent shield
Is where they are gathered, where they are splintered,
Where they are woven.

United, divided, leaning into the storms of Time.
Hausers swinging between centuries
Binding sun and earth, to heaven, even.

Knitted light revolved and spun,
Wheels in wheels, a thousand eyes
Open and closing, a blink of orbital rhythm.

These trees, these towers, these castles roaring upwards.
Ladders of chant and silence,
Spilt shade.

Bow ye down,
Bow ye graceful between the gravestones,
Flaked and moss green.

Bone and mind incorporate,
Reawoke, voiceless and benign
In speckled sunlight, sublime.

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YEWS OF LLYWEL

1
Older than theologies,
Blood grail holder
A taste of cinnamon and rust.
He would have stood here shaded,
Llywel, eyes following your dark spirals,
Hands and back against your rough dragon skin,
Watching the rain sweep in across the valley trees.
The little stream growing loud then quiet again,
The nod of measowsweet and hawkweed,
A thick, potent prayer tasting on his lips.

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2
Lidless, you seeing yews,
Eyes fast on eternity,
Shrugging off days and years.
Time, (even), kneels down in your shade
Forgetting all but this one moment,
Head bowed, long-veined hands
Like the valleys of the Epynt,
River full and throbbing green,
Bending seawards, bending to the lowlands,
Bending to the silence, to the confluence of breath,
An instant of clarity, wordless, bubbled, weightless.
The chambered heart, rope and sinew,
Knotted, released, a stretched tympanum quivering.
One vowel, one consonant, one tree.

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3
My tongue a rolling mist,
A down feather aimless,
Unable to approach nearer
The in and out of your mighty, inexorable breath.
Time’s golden apples fall ripe and fall rotten,
Lapsed thought imcomprehensible.
A simple vastness, single, resounding,
A parliament of photons.
Woven thickly, red, hard, etched water.
A held swirl, thirled moments,
Nailed, transfigured, an apotheosis
Beyond good or bad, beyond purpose,
Beyond meaning,
An etymology of divinity.

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BLURB WORDPRESS link

Hopefully this is a link to a project I have just completed using Blurb templates. If it works, this is an ideal platform for me to produce most of the work I have been doing with Tree Spirit Healing over the last twenty years or so. The fact that there will be only a few people interested in this stuff is not my main concern, it is just nice to get a lot of texts and related artworks into some other medium other than idiosyncratic ones and noughts. These books will be the most cost effective way to collate and embody most of my recent artworks. I do have the facility to print high quality archive images that occasionally sell and go to good homes, but this is quite an expensive process, even to make my own copies.

I am currently working on several other volumes of Tree Spirit Healing books, some in this format, some in others, checking out possibilities and variables. So far poetry books haven’t been completely controllable (though there are a few ideas I have had recently to try to stabilise errant spacing and lines, which I must try out before they slip my mind again…

Please take a look if you have time. From a mass publishing/popular bookstall point of view these books are not cheap. But then again, I am used to buying academic specialist volumes for fifty, sixty, seventy pounds sterling….

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print of ‘Light of Beltane’ created from tree and other plant spirit symbols
*****

THE COOL GREEN FIRES OF BELTANE

These wild mad-eyed men
Fire burning souls, heart-clawed:
Let them cool and rest
Under the dapple of trees,
Let them silent learn to smile,
Let them melt a little
Considering this fragrant air
sufficient, replete.
Breeze-filled, bird-filled,
A hammock for goodness.

Let them drop their hunger,
The carving of empires,
The bitter profits of belief,
The fierce ambitions for more.

Let them love their sons and daughters
And let them remember the open woods.
Let them not fear heaven nor hells
But let them halt and watch
The small things gather, delighted,
Learning the blessing of trees.

Let the heart melt in May,
Let the skin warm, flesh relax, soul unfurl.
For there is a glory to find beneath all things
And it shall shine through
Enough for any,
Enough for all.
Life under trees.

Let the mountains remain open
Let the valleys be all in green shade
Comforted, rocked, whispered.
For there are sufficient deserts,
Howling emptinesses we need no more of,
No more cleansings nor clearings
Nor impositions of sterile order.

Let the heart melt into May,
The cool green fires of Beltane.
Let the soul, with the souls of all, unfurl,
The branching year blossoming.

Beyond is the cool airs turning warm,
Beyond is a place to rest completed,
Beyond is the dream of violet shimmer
The hum of summer, the nest of light.
Under trees, cooled, dappled, blessed.

*****

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Yew textures

13

Equation

Belonging and separation
These, the truth of all relating.
Belonging and separation,
These, the fabric of all existences.
Belonging and separation:
The biology of being
The song of the heart
The engine of thoughts
The migration of souls
The tide of peoples
The stick and goad of leaders
The yearning of lovers
The fear of death.

Staying in one place:
The rowan, the birch
Taking up, letting go,
Bending to withstand rain,
Rising in springtime.

A blessing to all
A curse to none.
The house of trees
Ever remaining.

I breathe in
The wood of my own making:
The spliced double oak
Of my lungs
Shattering separation,
Drawing in life to life.
Feeding the forest
Of my blood, a red tide
Whispering the twin rivers
Of extension and return.
My own yew and alder,
Heart life, deep-rooted.

A dream of trees,
This world.
A home of trees.
A house of trees,
An open sanctuary,
A boundary of contentment.

The bright tumbling birches-
I breathe their fluid lightning,
Sucked in to my belly.
Spinning, revolving, sweeping away
Sorrow, liquid atonement,
A clarity of spiral song,
A reverberation of pure note.

I breathe in the star snow of rowan,
A descent of clustered frost,
Rock-borne, persistent.
A waterfall descent of night
Shot through with sparks of song.
A tumbled universe
Bridging beginnings and ends.
A resonance of watching silence.

I breathe the resin air of pine,
A seed of taste on the tongue-tip.
Awakened presence, reminder of place.
I breathe out the distant glimmer
Through the centre of my eyes,
Arrow-straight, target-less,
Horizon’s endless pull.

The tree of memory.
The tree of branching thought.

I breathe the sweep of ash,
The straight, silent spear tip of it,
Key to all houses.

I breathe the shattering quiver
Of aspen the whisperer.
A fountain of echoes,
Shaking each nerve tip
With rippled delight.

I breathe without movement
A perfect balance of oak.
Remaining poised,
Certain stitch, well held.

And I breathe a pool of yew,
Contracting, expanding, bubbled time,
A well of silence,
A well of time.

Half here, half elsewhere,
The dancers know that tune
Of leaf and root, galliard of the seasons.
The slow inhalation of moments,
The gnat-cloud of thought
Dispersed and reformed
In new pools of sunlight.

The house of trees:
Allowing the dark,
Allowing the stillness,
Acquiescing to gravity
And the yearning for light.
Placed, established, settled.
Whilst we,
Free to wander
But rootless and unsatisfied,
Busy to hide the doubt of silence,
The insistence of other questions.
Always running away, scurrying.
Better stories
Awaiting beyond.

It is time (surely) to
Attain a place,
An open view,
learning to remain.

Over the hills of Knoydart
The clouds have settled.
Dawn stills the waters
Between Raasay and the deep wood.
Distilled essence,
Liquid morning.
All roads and paths
To elsewhere
Are empty.

The house of trees:
A beginning and an end
Of remembering.

tall trees

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moss cave

11

The tasting of edges

Here is how it is,
How it was:
From the vastness of sleep
A coagulation, a gravitation
Towards the poignant edge.
The bliss of voiceless silence
Shaped and constrained:
Electrical motion, remembering, defining
The surge of emotion, the
Tumble of language, the assertion
Of primacy, constraint, neural nets
To catch and take hold, own,
Possess, reject, disown, demean.

The walls of this house,
Our house,
Sure against the gale,
Black and warmed.

Here’s the truth of it:
This language is not my own,
Not my words, not my syntax,
Not my thoughts, nothing new.
History: the reiteration
Of the forgotten blood
Still roaring changeless
Down the rivers of the years.

Here we are:
Rooted, belonging,
Our right,
A place to return to,
Warm in the soot-blackened darkness
(The winds screaming, battering, squeezing
Sound from tumbling dust).

A silver flash on the black waters,
Leaping fish way beyond the heron’s gaze.
The tawny glen, its tawny sides
Closing in as day’s end darkens.
Where are the fires?
Where are the voices?
The footsteps of those returning home,
The yawns of babes
Turning in belly-filled sleep?

The roaring tide has left.
Its sound diminishes.
The white, wheeling gulls
Are silent specks, the dark horizon.

We are left at a peace
We do not want,
Wordless sorrow for the misplaced.

I’ll tell you of the purest emotion,
Feeling that is free of judging,
Free of qualification.
It is the only language of the heart.
Music, the language without definition,
The summoning of tears and smiles,
Our greatest blessing to the universe.
A song, wordless and unequivocal,
A language universal, sublime,
Fearful, shaking the roots of things,
A net for the Almighty’s scatterings.

(I would barely trust one
Who could not find a tune
With nimble fingers,
Who could not speak verse
As if it were his own heart talking,
Whose words stay cowled behind
Heavy drapes of seemly logic,
Whilst inward, seethes and rails
Against opinion not his own.)

It is not here
In the dream of standing alone.
It is not here
In the upright light of independence.
Uprooted, it is not possible to find a place,
Poor and worthless, it is not possible
To find gold or glory.
It is the same voice
As it ever was:
The clever words well-weighted,
Reasonable.

The rain on the roof,
The wind at the door.
We huddle
Holding the weaving of stories,
The paths telling how we got here,
The choices, the turns, the betrayals.
Cold draughts sweep abandoned corners.

The water does not fight the rock,
It tunes its song and flows around.
It is neither this nor that.
The stepping stones in the flood –
Not the only way to cross.

This house of trees –
It is a house of despair,
A house of howling winds.

This house of trees –
It is a bounty of bright life,
A re-population of delight.

This house of trees –
It is a signal to all
The tyranny of the past has fled.

This house of trees –
It is a plight of bitterness,
An empty, starved gesture of despair.

Delight and despair –
Sunlight and shadows on the hills.
Holding firm is not the way of life.
Freedom and independence, not
A way to understand life.
The making of edges
Is the sound and silence of the tune,
A convolution of anticipation.

Each edge, though,
Neither this, neither that.
We define too closely,
Barter truth for surety
Miss the paradox,
Hold too tightly.

The bright edge is a sword
That severs as the sunlight is a sword
That blinds the sight.

Coming over the hill –
The sharp curtain of the Cuillins,
The still waters of Ord.

Belonging or not belonging:
I borrow my breath
From the exhalation of sparrows
I borrow my sight
From the sparkle of waterfalls
I borrow my heart
From the song of dust and worm
I borrow my words
From the whispers of the dead,
From MacLeod under the sky,
From the white bones, the bleached bones.

I am nothing
But a continuance
Nothing but a path
Made by those gone on before
A house of trees
A house of birdsong
A house of utterance
A forever
Dreaming of a walled instant
Of peace.

BlackCuillins Ord

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We recently travelled to the Isle of Skye and the Western Highlands of Scotland. October in Scotland is glorious and the weather was good – not too overcast, not too sunny – so that we were able to see the land in many of its moods and atmospheres. I have selected a few images around the subject of water. I hope you enjoy the visual essay.

Taken from a cafe window in Portree, Skye, early morning looking east.

 

Fron Ord, Sleat, Isle of Skye, looking across Loch Eishort towards the Black Cuillins.

 

Clouds reflecting in the still waters of a loch an near Kilt Rock, Trotternish, Skye.

 

 

Looking across the sea to Harris from Duntulm, Trotternish, Skye.

 

 

Ripples on Loch Bay, Waternish, Skye.

 

 

Dawn sky over Kyleakin, Skye. The view from our bedroom window.

 

 

Sunrise over Kyleakin, Skye. Waves of light.

 

 

Early morning mists lift into the sky over Glen Garry.

 

Mists, shadows, trees, Glen Garry.

 

 

Still waters, slow moving mists. Loch Lochy.

 

Sunlight enters the woods. Mist rises from the waters. Loch Lochy.

 

 

Water-worn pools, Falls of Killin.

 

 

Waterside willows, Loch Venachar.

 

 

The sky below. Loch Venachar.

 

 

The Waters of the World. Loch Venachar.

——

This world

is the Otherworld:

Silver and gold

in turns.

The road flies

to the horizons

where our eyes linger,

longing

for something

right

in front

of

us.

 

———

 

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